You may have heard that when things go badly in a relationship, women often have a deep fear of abandonment, while the deepest fear for men is being trapped.
Trapped in a relationship, trapped by their partner, trapped in a life they don’t really want or didn’t really choose for themselves. And when you operate from the perspective of that fear, lasting love is very hard to find or figure out.
And sometimes, ‘lasting love’ may even look more like a threat than a promise of happiness.
But, at the same time, many men feel lonely and would love to connect – if only they knew how. If only they felt safe. And while the Oakland speed dating scene is great fun, it may not be the best way to go.
Men also often say that they aren’t quite sure what went wrong in their relationships. This is where therapy can really help. Therapy can really help anyone figure out their lives, and what happening inside. Men and women have been doing it for over a hundred years. (high five!)
What happens in therapy?
Professional therapists are trained to listen. They are also trained to help their clients investigate and understand the underlying patterns of their lives. Their beliefs and values. Their hopes and dreams.
Also in therapy, we look at what didn’t quite go to plan. And at what the client would like to change.
The important thing to remember is that, in therapy, the client is always in charge. The therapist is there to help you, not boss you around.
You are the captain of your ship. The therapy just helps you run your ship better. (*captain’s salute!)
Love yourself before you love another person
Even if you seek therapy to figure out your relationship issues, therapy always begins and ends with you.
For some guys, “how much do you love yourself?” is a tricky question. Do you even know?
For many of us, men and women alike, uncomfortable feelings lurk right under the surface. In therapy, you can start looking at these feelings, instead of looking away. Your therapist has seen it all before and will help you find a way to deal with your emotions.
What do you know about love?
How can you recognize love if you don’t know what it is? Where did you learn about love? For most people, love lessons were taught in our families, from our parents.
In therapy, you investigate what ideas about of a ‘man in love’ were passed on to you by your father or male role model. What kind of example was he for your own future relationships?
Also, what happened when you first started dating? How did you know what to do? How did it feel? Was there some kind of peer pressure from other young men to do the ‘guy thing’?
Now is your chance to unravel what others taught you and showed you. And determine what you want for yourself.
Being in control
For many men, being in control of themselves and their lives is very important. And that means having a sense of freedom. Including the freedom to change your mind. This is why some guys constantly seem to have their eyes on the ‘exit’ sign.
But how much are you really in control when you can’t open up to the deepest experience in life… lasting love? Are you depriving yourself of living fully in the present because your mind is too forward focused?
The way to truly being in control is through self-knowledge.
Loving someone is always a risk
You don’t know the future. Yes, love can be dangerous.
However, love takes courage and lasting love is the ultimate adventure. In therapy, you can learn how to take a relationship risk and how to tolerate uncertainty.
Oakland couples have a great tradition of long-lasting marriages. Take the Trebinos from Concord or the Kings from Oakland itself, married for 50 years in 2016. In 2006, Bishop Elvelva Harris celebrated his 70th wedding anniversary with his wife Ozeffer .
So stay the course, guys. You can do it!